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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My mini-van gave-up-the-ghost today. Which is bad, yet strangely good at the same time.

We have a small Colman Cheyenne Popup trailer and have been a slave to using my hubbys F150 (when he is not taking it to work) which means-not often.

I am going to 'strike while the iron is hot' so to speak and suggest to my hubby some family vehicles (that are not truck-like) that can handle towing and at least 4 or more passengers.

Any suggestions??


p.s.

I looked for a thread that is similar, but cannot see any. If there is, please let me know. :)
 

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Popups are generally not that heavy and if you have no intention of upgrading to a larger trailer, there are plenty of SUVs that can pull your trailer.

You need to know the weight of the trailer and I don't mean looking at the GVWR on the trailer, but what it actually weighs! You'll need to know the trailer is not overweight and you'll need to know this for purchasing a new vehicle that can also pull it.

THEN you need to know the GVWR of your new tow vehicle AND the CGVWR (combined gross vehicle weight rating). Again, with a popup there's a good chance all will be good. It will also be helpful to know the RAWR (Rear axle weight rating) of the tow vehicle so that when the trailer is hitched the tongue weight doesn't exceed the rating.

Now you know some of the ratings, and now comes the important part. Get to a scale and KNOW what your real weights are. The best time to do this is when you are hitched up and have all gear. This is the ONLY way to know what the weights are and can compare it to the ratings. If ANY rating is over, then you are overweight. It is easy for one weight to be correct and another one to be over.

Many SUVs are built on a truck chassis so they will be stronger and more capable than a car or a minivan. A minivan loses much of its weight ratings because of extra seating and metal to support the passengers. An SUV carries less passengers but more gear so that they are designed a little stronger. Be cautious of crossovers because they use a car chassis and while they may be bigger than a car they aren't much stronger. A crew cab pickup carries more passengers and because there is only a truck bed, higher weight ratings can be achieved because the beds are light in comparison to framing, seats enclosures and the like and are built with a much stronger chassis.

I prefer to discuss the class of vehicles available opposed to a brand since this can be sensitive. That said, one brand of vehicle with higher tow ratings does not mean you will like the ride or towing with it. For example, back in the late 80's I used a Ford Aerostar with a 3.0 engine to tow my popup and it performed FAR better than my brother-in-law's Chevy Astrovan with a 4.0 engine and his popup who struggled up hills. My Aerostar was tow rated for 2800 lbs (trailer weight was about 1,300 lbs) and the Astrovan was tow rated for 3500 lbs (and his trailer weight was about 1,400 lbs). Both satisfied the tow ratings but the smaller vehicle performed better, go figure!

Your choice may vary, but don't scrimp. Your husband's F-150 is more than capable and you might not need as strong of a vehicle so look at the numbers YOURSELVES. DO NOT listen to a salesperson. I have not met one that is completely honest or knowledgeable about these numbers. They are trying to sell a vehicle. If you get it wrong it is NOT their fault, it is now your problem.

I hope this helps a little bit. If you have specific options in mind there's a good chance we can provide additional information or concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good information! Thank you! The weight rating I will have to start calculating. I am not fussy with brands or models. I am more on the practical side when it comes to cars. A car has to do its job, everything else is gravy! (at least for me) ;)

Do you have any suggestions or info regarding the car/dealer towing packages? I was reading conflicting info about factory install vs getting it later.
 

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Wow, you came up with two good points.

1. A new car.... if you are planning to tow with a car and a whole bunch of kids then you may be asking too much from your car. If the car is towing a load that alone can meet the GVWR or CGVWR of the vehicle, then loading up with passengers, gear and the trunk will definitely put some stress for the vehicle. You'll need a big car! The main reason is that cars are designed for a comfortable ride so that loading to the max (or over it) will cause sag (driving at night and oncoming traffic will think you have your high beams on) and an uncomfortable ride (the load makes the ride sit on springs and bumpers and you'll feel ever bump. This day and age with the advent of much more comfortable suspension, trailering is difficult. Adding air bags will help the ride and the headlight aim but they DO NOT increase the gross vehicle weight capacity. Even a minivan of SUV is better because the suspension provides more clearance, and weight rating and you might still need an air bag suspension.

2. Tow package - These are NOT all the same. Sometimes it means only a hitch. Other times it means a trans cooler or larger alternator or heavy duty radiator. And even further, sometimes it means a 4 pin connector or a 7 pin connector or even nothing (my popup needed a 6 pin because of the aux connector and backup lights). Nowadays, it can also include wider side view mirrors and a brake controller (you won't need the brake controller with a popup but you'll need mirrors to see past the width of the trailer). Your husband's F-150 probably has mirrors that clear the width and looks over the popup. In all cases, always ask what the tow package provides, then you must know what else you might need on top of that or even something you don't need.

NOTE: When you want to tow with a car, you are now asking more of a car than you might want to mess with. In other words you are now going beyond its comfort level or as you put it, "That's SOME GRAVY!" That's why SUVs and Minivans became popular starting in the late '70s and the manufacturers were able to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient. Be very careful or by the time you add everything you need to make a car capable of towing, then you may as well have bought something bigger and more capable. Also remember everything you add to the car adds more weight itself and detracts from cargo, gear, kids and their stuff.

The best thing to do is keep asking questions. I'll keep trying to add things you need to know about. There might be more as you keep asking. NO question is dumb when you are trying to satisfy safety, compliant and comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi,

Just thought I would let you know what happened. We ended up finding a sweet deal on an Ford E150. It is a 2005 with milage, but no car payment and IT CAN TOW 6100#s! I know that is not EXACTLY true, but it will do for our little popup!

Thanks for the great information! :thumbup1:
 

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Congratulations on the new ride!!!

Good to know it is capable of towing 6100#, which equates to about 610 to 1000 lbs on the bumper hitch (rear axle), but your popup will weigh a lot less - figuring a maximum of 1500 lbs gross weight, then allow 10-15% for the hitch or 150 to 225 lbs, plus about 50lbs for the hitch hardware (receiver, ball, wiring, brackets, etc.) or a total of 275# for the popup weight on the rear axle.

Check the GVWR of the E150 (it might be on the driver's side door pillar along with the recommended tire sizes and air pressure). Let's say it's 7,000 lbs and hopefully the axle ratings are there too (FAWR & RAWR). Then with the van with a full tank of fuel, all the fluids topped off and ONLY you and your husband as the driver, get to a scale and weigh the VAN (front axle first, then both axles, then the rear axle only). The front axle and the rear axle added together should be the same as what was weighed for both axles (if they are off, the scale is not very good). This is called the curb weight, unladen weight and just means that what the van weighs pretty much all the time with only the driver and no gear.

Now add this to the hitch weight (275?) then subtract this number from the 7,000 GVWR and this will leave cargo weight (CCC - cargo carrying capacity). Cargo is the other passengers, luggage, gear or anything else you carry in the van on your trip.

With a popup you will probably be okay with this. If you want to bounce the numbers off the forum just to confirm, feel free to post and we'll help you with it. Please remember you need to know how ALL this numbers interact to be safe.
 
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